Nutlidge ~ Chapter Two

Chapter Two

A Raven and a Tree

The Eagle was tapping louder now and suddenly called out a loud ‘caw’. Sky realised that it wasn’t an Eagle call but a Raven’s and turned to look at the bird behind her.
A large Raven was now where the Eagle had been, and a look of surprise was on Sky’s face.
“Where did you come from?” She smiled.
The Raven began to caw louder and louder until it became too loud for Sky’s ears and she became agitated, covering her ears with her hands.
“Okay! Okay! I can hear you!” She called out and suddenly she awoke with a jump. Still holding her ears and a little disorientated, Sky came back to reality to hear the odd ‘cawing’ from the trees outside followed by a tapping on wood.
With a big yawn and a heavy sigh, Sky sat herself up on the old couch and looked around herself whilst she woke up fully from her amazing dream.
The quaint room of the cottage was glowing with the last of the morning sun. It trickled in gently and a warm breeze was moving gently around her bare feet. The crystal at the kitchen sink window was throwing tiny rainbows everywhere. This was her favourite place, the old cottage. It sat in a beautiful rainforest on her grandmother’s property, and was set away from the main house. The main house was built a century or so after the cottage was built back in 1800s.
It was just where she needed to be after a hugely upsetting and chaotic morning. Her family had received bad news about their cousin in Bali.
Tommo was Sky’s cousin. He was twenty years older than her, and was her brother’s best buddy. Baize was only 16, but got on well with Tommo and they spent a lot of time together.
It had been a busy morning, and an early start too. The phone had rung at about 4 am and it got them all up. After that, breakfast followed by a rushed packing of Sky’s bags, phone calls and in the car they got! Sky was still yawning when her upset mother, Fran, had dropped her at her grandmother’s house and headed off to the Melbourne airport with Baize to see Sky’s uncle off to Bali. His son had been caught in the blast with his teammates and was in the intensive care unit at the Sanglah Hospital.
Sky shook her head as all the pictures from the mornings events unfolded in her mind. She couldn’t understand why anyone would want to do such an awful thing. “What is going on in the world?” She asked herself quietly, as her eyes found the light of the window and she stared at the beauty outside for a long time.
She had spent the early hours of the morning with her grandmother, happily helping her with a few small jobs around her huge two-storey house. They had eaten an early breakfast on the balcony and took in the beauty of the surrounding gardens, talking about the Bali tragedy. After everything, Sky was exhausted.
Up above, a beautiful day had begun and the sky was clear except for a few small clouds. Sky focused on one lonesome cloud, drifting slowly along as it changed shape. This was a favourite pastime of Sky’s also. It turned into what looked to her like a gumnut! Then, it appeared to turn into a doorway. She had mentioned this to her grandma, and they’d had a long chat about mystical magical things and what the cloud and was trying to tell her. They had decided that it signified a doorway to new and exciting opportunities coming into her life.
Sky loved having conversations with her grandmother. She was always telling her wonderful things about life that no one else really talked about, except maybe her mother. It was a world that had been stolen from humanity, which was now being realised by millions. Our true magical Divine side. We were Creators and could create anything with our thoughts. In fact, we do this all the time. “Be careful of the thoughts you put out there,” her grandma would say, “for that is what will create your future.”

After this, Sky decided to go for a walk through the gardens to check on the old cottage. She loved this place because every garden she walked through was different. Her favourites were the main garden, where flowers were always abundant in every colour imaginable, and the eucalyptus forest where she would sometimes fossick for hours and find many types of gumnuts and pods to use for her art. They were colourful and everywhere, and to Sky it was like a treasure trove.
She had eventually reached the cottage and felt relieved to be back again. By that time, all she had felt like doing was making herself a cup of warm chocolate and sitting on the lounge. She had reflected on her day so far, and looked around the beautiful room at her leisure and when her drink was finished, she had fallen asleep.
Still sitting quietly, Sky looked at the antique clock on the mantelpiece. She had slept awhile! It was eleven minutes past eleven. 11:11 flashed in her mind and she remembered her mother mentioning this a few days before. Something to do with, “a change in energy and a wake up call you send to yourself. A reminder of your true purpose here on Earth.”
Sky thought back to the dream again. “That was the best flying dream I’ve had in ages!” She said to herself, remembering the clouds and the river. Then she remembered the Eagle and the door.
“That door again…” She still pondered quietly to herself, “It opened and something woke me up…” She looked towards the open door and felt momentarily annoyed that she hadn’t found out what had lain behind the door once again.
A loud tapping was again heard outside and it became more and more frequent. The bird was still out there cawing, a little more often now.
Sky re-tied her hair so that her pigtail had a loop in it. It was cooler like that. She stretched and stood up, straightening her jeans and T-shirt, and headed for the door.
She still had an ornament in her hand from the doll’s house in the other room, so she ducked in there first to put it away. The doll’s house was quite large, covering the best part of one wall in the bedroom. Her great-great-great-great grandfather had made it, along with all the furniture within it. He was a fine craftsman and his work had lasted well. It was spectacular. Apparently his wife had decorated it, and she had done a beautiful job. Every room you could imagine was in this house. It had two large doors that closed to form the fourth and front wall to the miniature mansion, covered with lovely windows, balconies and French doors. It had four storeys with stairs connecting them all, carpets, wallpaper, exquisite furniture, framed pictures, cupboards and drawers that worked, running water and all the ornaments and utensils a family could ever have.
There were four antique porcelain dolls, dressed in sixteenth century attire, a father, a mother, a boy and a girl.
Sky usually spent hours playing with the doll’s house when she stayed. Loving tiny things like she did, she was in her element.
Now more awake and feeling quite refreshed, Sky headed out the door, grabbing her backpack on the way. The bird, a Raven after all, was on a nearby branch and it was still tapping at the wood and wiping its beak. His throat feathers were ruffled, unlike a crow that would have had a silky throat. It stopped and looked at her in what she thought to be a very curious way and flew to the next branch. It turned around and looked at her again. She remembered what her grandmother had told her. Ravens usually meant magic, and in ancient cultures were thought to be the link between the known reality and one that is hidden.
The Raven flew in short stages and kept looking back at Sky who had now chosen to follow it.
They ended up at the bridge and the bird changed directions, flying upstream toward the waterfall. Sky had always wanted to follow this stream to see where it went and so, with the cottage almost forgotten and her backpack strapped to her shoulders, she climbed down from the bridge and headed after the bird. She climbed over rocks and small waterfalls and around rock pools, and every now and then the Raven would stop and wait for her to catch up. It sent out one of its loud calls and continued its journey down the river.
They had gone about 500 metres by the time the Raven stopped and made itself comfortable on a large boulder after ruffling its feathers and calling out once more.
Sky looked around and didn’t see anything unusual. However, it had been fun and so she sat and caught her breath with her feet in the water and her eyes up amongst the high canopy. The bird life in the forest was amazing. Everywhere she looked something moved or flew across the way. A kingfisher’s bright blue iridescence stood out brightly on a near by branch. A kestrel hawk was hovering above, focusing for food on the ground.
“Mmm,” said Sky, “Watch out for messages hey?” She drank from the stream and savoured its crystal clear taste. As she stood up, the Raven flew into the forest away from the stream. Sky followed it again and it took her into the forest about 20 metres before they came to a complete stop. It was all undergrowth, beautifully set amongst huge trees and tree ferns.
They came to a small area where she could swing her arms and, after looking around, it was clear that she couldn’t go on any further.
“Well Raven, I’m not sure what you’re up to, but I think you’ve led me on a wild goose chase.” The girl sat down on a tree log and looked around.
She was almost surrounded by layers of vines that were hanging high up from a tree. They were all sizes and lengths, and seemed to go up forever amidst giant leaves and ferns. The vines twisted and curled and she studied it all, finding lots of tiny spiral ends and curly bits.
“This is excellent!” She said, delighted about the find. “These are so cute! I could use that on a nut and make a tiny cup! Actually, I could make all sorts of little miniatures with these…” She proceeded to fill her backpack up with dry curly vines.
She noticed some unusual gumnuts stuck in between the vines so she endeavoured to pull the branch out from its vine-entangled trap.
The vines weren’t all that stable and they moved as she pulled the cluster of nuts out. As she did this she noticed that she could make a hole big enough to climb through, which backed on to a large tree trunk.
Sky pushed her way through the ferns and vines that lay near the tree trunk. It took her quite a while, but she managed to find her way to an opening she could see ahead. It was quite a large opening and very pretty, with wild flowers and a small pool of water. A tiny stream trickled its way into the decorated pond. Sky looked at the surroundings with appreciation in her eyes. She stepped forward, tripping on a tree root, and was suddenly sprawled on the ground and face to face with a lizard, that was about a foot long.
Sky knew that when people saw lizards it meant that they should listen to their dreams. Her mother, Fran had read that out to her recently from the medicine cards. These particular medicine cards were created from the beliefs of the Elders of many Native American tribes. She pondered for a moment on the flying dream she’d had, still quite comically staring into the lizard’s eyes. It flickered its tongue and took off into the forest.
Rubbing her knee and picking herself off the ground, she turned around to look at the tree that seemed to be quite large.
She got the shock of her life when she realised that she had stumbled across the largest tree trunk she had ever seen in her life! It looked like a eucalyptus tree but the size of it was hard to comprehend. It was easily the width of their house, and that was just the trunk! It had beautiful designs stretching up the trunk to massive boughs about five metres above the ground. Foliage, tree branches, vines and other forestry plants did a good job of covering it up but there was no doubt about its size.
The Raven had found its way in and sat looking at her, cawing its delight in getting her there so easily.
Sky stood staring at the tree trunk in absolute awe. She wondered if her grandma knew about this tree and stepped forward to touch it. Stretching her arms out, she gave it a warm hug. A warm breeze seemed to blow in her face making her hair move, and goose bumps rise on her arms and neck, yet it was as still as could be. It was a gorgeous trunk full of colourful bark and knots. An ant colony worked its way up the trunk, giving her the thought of actually climbing it.
The full size of the tree was camouflaged from all of the foliage it gave out. Sky tried in several places to see but leaves obstructed her view.
She stepped up on a knot in the tree trunk to move a bunch of leaves. This wasn’t high enough, so she looked again and found another foot hold and moved up the tree. It didn’t matter how many upward steps she took, she couldn’t see her way clearly. The foliage of gum leaves and the invasion of other tree foliage was so thick and caught up in vines of all kinds that she could hardly see much at all. But her heart was set on seeing how high she could climb and so went forth to find out! Up she went with thoughts of ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’ tapping at her brain.
“Well, I bet the beanstalk wasn’t this big!” She puffed, and stopped to rest. “This tree certainly is big enough for a giant to live in though!” Looking down she noticed that she couldn’t see the ground at all; just a mass of leaves and entwined vines. She decided that this was a very unusual eucalyptus tree indeed and looked at its structure. It was so big that the amount of branches that came off it was unthinkable for a eucalypt, and yet the trunk just kept going up and up.
She tried to climb around the tree to see how long it would take but found it too difficult. The size of the boughs dwarfed her and made it hard to climb. She looked for places where she could hold on to vines, young branches and legions in the bark to step up on.
It seemed that the further she went the bigger the tree got and she found herself trying to find ways of overcoming the boughs that were towering over her.
She sat against the massive trunk on a massive bough and rested, looking out at the scene before her.
A gathering of huge branches stretched out and crossed over each other and then got lost in layers of thick foliage. She noticed that the branches had a layer of moss collecting on them. Sky thought it was rather lovely.
“It looks more like a park,” she said out loud and got up to see where it would take her. All the while the Raven kept her in view, like a silent guide.
Birds were becoming more noticeable everywhere and louder in song. It was like they were gathering in excitement! Beautifully coloured insects were becoming more visible and butterflies fluttered through, landing on the leaves and the moss for moisture. She walked down the bough taking in the sheer size of its perimeter. The giant gum leaves and other branches made the journey interesting. She came to a mossy clearing where she felt it would be a lovely place to sit and rest again. She found a very comfortable area and sat down. Listening to the birds and the sounds of nature was very relaxing, and she stared into the foliage around herself. It was like being in a beautiful magical dream. In fact, she decided that it must be a dream and that she would wake up soon.
“I wonder if grandma ever knew about this tree? Thank you Raven! You really did know, didn’t you?”
The Raven cawed once more and flew off into the forest.
“Oh no! Don’t go Raven!” She called out, but he was gone.
Sky’s excitement was building and she thought she might go up the bough a little further before heading back to tell her grandmother. Before Sky had finished standing up properly, something small tapped her on the head. Looking down she discovered it was a tiny gumnut. She noticed them in bunches dotted around the foliage. She studied the gumnut and went to straighten herself out when she was hit with a small shower of them. It didn’t hurt for they were only tiny, but they made her look up. ‘Must be a bird or an animal collecting food,’ she thought, and went to step forward again. But then she was showered with a whole heap of them!
“Goodness!” She said, as she tried to pluck them out of her hair. “What is going on up there?” She asked herself, and headed up a neighbouring branch to go further up. She thought it was like walking in the park on a quiet day, and smiled at how pleasant it was up in the treetops in this lush surrounding with life galore around her.
Up she went to the branches above her where new growth and gumnuts were plentiful. Down the branch a little further would bring her about level with where she was standing below. It came to a false dead end made with a mass of gum leaves.
She stood and looked at it for a moment before venturing forth to move the leaves out of the way. As she held her hand out the leaves shook slightly.
“Oh, there’s a bird in there I’ll bet.” She went to move the large leaves again. This time it shook quite vigorously. Sky stepped back a little unsure what to do next. She wondered suddenly if it really was a bird. What else could it be?


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